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Menu Ideas--Ladies Luncheon

massloumasslou Posts: 333Registered User Member
edited February 2011 in Parent Cafe
I'm co-hosting a lunch for about 25 ladies in a few weeks. Between the 2 co-hostesses, we have plenty of dishes, cutlery, glasses, etc. but need ideas for the menu. We're thinking of making a couple of crock-pots of soup--maybe butternut squash (perhaps a creme soup that can be served in a soup mug), but even that selection is in flux.

We won't have table space for a sit-down lunch and want it to be casual and hope guests will be comfortable to linger over a second cup of coffee/glass of wine and spend the afternoon chatting with old friends, etc. Considering serving chicken salad,but since it's going to still be cold outside, maybe we should go with something warm.

Another thing to think about--I'm sure guests will offer to help with food contributions, etc....How should we handle that? Should we make specific suggestions about what to bring? I don't want to appear too demanding and fussy. But, I'm afraid if we leave it up to 'pot luck', it won't be as nice---Valid concern or not?
Post edited by masslou on
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Replies to: Menu Ideas--Ladies Luncheon

  • MD MomMD Mom Posts: 6,728Registered User Senior Member
    IMO soup is trickier to eat standing up than finger foods although I understand wanting to serve something warm when it is cold outside. I served chicken salad sandwiches at a graduation party and they were a huge hit (easy too: chopped chicken, mayo, nuts and grapes or apples).

    Perhaps you could make it a salute to summer lunch and have the chicken salad sandwiches plus fruit and lettuce salads.

    I hesitate to have people bring things because I like what I make and don't always think everyone else is such a good cook (sounds snarky, I know). It seems as though someone who means well always has to go buy something rather than taking the time to cook.

    If you offer a few selections that you can make in large quantities, it is easy to make it all without having people bring things. When you don't have people contribute, you don't have to reshuffle your table every time someone comes to the door.

    Have fun!
  • ingerpingerp Posts: 866Registered User Member
    I hate to go all '70s on you but how about quiche? You can offer several different varieties, they can be made in advance and reheated before serving.

    Re: others bringing dishes, most typical I've seen at large group meals is bread, salad, and possibly dessert. I've found that if people are only bringing one dish, they tend to make it extra good. This way you get an assortment of creative salads, some bakery-quality baguettes, a lovely store-bought fruit tart or homemade brownies, . . . I would not be concerned at all about being fairly specific as to category of food an individual should bring to make sure you have the right balance. Plus I'd much rather be assigned something ("it would be lovely if you could bring a dessert") than try to guess what's needed.
  • KajonKajon Posts: 3,562Registered User Senior Member
    I got a chuckle when I saw this link. I do like the idea of tea sandwiches.

    All Photos - Ladies Luncheon Recipes - Photos - SouthernLiving.com
  • mathmommathmom Posts: 23,389Registered User Senior Member
    I think tea sandwiches is a great idea. If people want to bring something I suggest asking for appetizers or cookies. I'm always happy to eat quiche even if it is a 70s thing. :)

    My sister in law is just like you. She gives a dance party every year. She makes soup, salad and good bread. She has the guests bring dessert or wine if they want to bring something. It seems to work out well. (She also makes one dessert and has some wine to ensure she has what she likes.)
  • dmd77dmd77 Posts: 7,709Registered User Senior Member
    I like to use the mini phyllo cups to make bite-sized quiche, mushroom tarts, cheese tarts, that kind of thing. They are stiff enough to hold the contents without collapsing, but can be picked up and eaten easily. They look nice too. Usually they're in the frozen section with the frozen pie crusts.

    Make a list of things it would be helpful for people to bring. As people ask, "assign" them a food. I would suggest the desserts, as in "oh, could you bring one doz small chocolate chip cookies?"
  • ELYELY Posts: 1,117Registered User Senior Member
    I agree that the combo of soup & mingling could be tricky. I'd lean more towards chili (maybe with salad & cornbread). Another idea is to make a couple of lasagnas--one veggie & one traditional, again with salad & bread.
  • irishmary203irishmary203 Posts: 359Registered User Member
    I went to a ladies lunch today and here is what was served: sliced chateau briand (roast), scalloped potatoes, grilled asparagus,homemade biscuits,salad, carrot cake for dessert.it was really yummy and the roast was a great idea as it fed a lot and was cooked ahead and allowed to rest.
  • chocchipcookiechocchipcookie Posts: 2,010Registered User Senior Member
    I also like the idea of quiches, different flavors.

    A suggestion: I use those wooden skewers a lot.....easy to pick one up off the table & put on your plate.......two things I've made with them very often for gatherings is:
    -fruit kabobs........cut up pineapple, strawberries, grapes, etc. and skewer on to the stick
    -antipasto........cut up cucumbers, olives, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, etc., marinate them overnight in olive oil & italian seasonings and then skewer on to the stick
    The whole pacakge of @100 sticks is probably @$3

    Both of these go well with quiche. Also like the soup in a mug idea and maybe one or two salads........spinach salad.........orzo salad with roasted vegetables.........you're all set!
    Have fun!
  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 36,924Registered User Senior Member
    I had a luncheon for a number of folks...I made chicken salad and also got some cold cuts and put together a little platter...and some nice bread and rolls. There were several salads (brought by the guests), and a good menu of desserts. All were easy to eat without a table. MUCH easier than soup would have been.
  • worknprogress2worknprogress2 Posts: 1,355Registered User Senior Member
    I do a buffet every Christmas, and honestly, the soup has not been a problem. I have little tables and trays set up and the soup is always gone at the end of the night. I worried how the guests would manage, but somehow it worked out. I do a butternut squash every year and sometimes a leek and potato.
  • Youdon'tsayYoudon'tsay Posts: 16,402Registered User Senior Member
    "Ladies luncheon" is such a quaint phrase! :)
  • ConsolationConsolation Posts: 14,803Registered User Senior Member
    I like to serve several pretty and tasty cold cream soups in punch cups or small plastic glasses as an hors d'oeuvres. People can just drink them from the glass, then dispose of it. This is great in hot weather--perhaps not so great in the winter. A warm soup that can be drunk from a mug requires the person to carry around the mug, then find a place to put it while they deal with a plate and so forth. Sounds cumbersome.

    I don't like to have people bring things, other than things to drink. I am an excellent cook, if I do say so myself, and a control freak. :D I like to plan the menu, plan what I will serve it on and when and how, and I don't want a bunch of random plates of this or that. If people ask what they can bring I either say nothing, or a beverage.

    For an event of this type, if you are having a buffet and people will be circulating without a place to sit at a table, I would concentrate on finger foods and things that can easily be eaten with just a small plate and a fork. Quiches are actually a great idea. I think they are one of those things that has been off the radar long enough to have regained their freshness. I did a memorial service reception for 100-200 last year, and we made a variety of quiches the centerpiece of the menu. (Comfort food, too.) Nice tea sandwiches are also good. Although they are not glamorous, whenever I make deviled eggs for a big group they are the first thing that disappears. (To dress them up, you can pipe the filling onto them with a big star tip of the kind intended for potatoes.)

    As a recently diagnosed diabetic, let me make a plea for something that does not contain carbs in the form of bread, crust, pasta, or potatoes. A melange of room temperature roasted/grilled vegetables--red peppers, green beans, sliced onions, brussels sprouts, asparagus--is delicious, good for vegetarians also, and easy to make ahead.
  • great lakes momgreat lakes mom Posts: 1,943Registered User Senior Member
    Soup is so easy, and good for cold weather. If people can sit or perch things on a table or counter, would go for the soup, even if just casual, where you find it seating.

    Otherwise, a friend a few years back had a 'ladies' luncheon' that was essentially salad. Everyone brought a topping ingredient in a bowl, and the hostess provided greens, bread and salad dressing. Seafood of various sorts, pasta, vegetables, cheeses were some of the selections to top your greens.
  • ConsolationConsolation Posts: 14,803Registered User Senior Member
    I meant to add that I've found that very few people feel comfortable without a table to put their plate down on for an actual meal. When I've had dinner parties for 50+ people at my house I rent some round tables that seat about 6 with cloths that go to the floor, plus chairs, and dot them around the first floor. (I also use some drop leaf side tables I own.) I serve the food buffet style from the dining room, and people go find places at a table. They seem to enjoy this, and the formation of small groups is pleasant.
  • chocchipcookiechocchipcookie Posts: 2,010Registered User Senior Member
    GreatLakesMom:

    I, too, have been to parties where they had a huge salad buffet with lots of bowls of different toppings. They also happen to serve hot vegetable or tomato soup in mugs, but either way, just the salad bar itself is a great thing to have and they are fun to put together exactly what you want! Like that idea for this OP's luncheon too! OP....let us know what you end up serving! :)
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